With the rising popularity of podcasting in the past decade, short video platform Kuaishou is stepping into the realm with a new podcast app. According to Chinese media Tech Planet, an app developed by Kuaishou team called Piting (literally, kayak) is now under secret beta testing. Leaked pictures show that the app’s interface resembles that of Xiaoyuzhou (literally, little universe), the first Chinese app dedicated to podcasts developed by the team behind Jike, a niche social media app popular among savvy Chinese white-collar youth.
The Piting app features “accurate search” and category tags including “culture”, “music”, “art”, and “gaming” that are used to define podcast genres. The app would also allow users to comment on each episode as expected. Piting also features the slogan: “listen to interesting souls talking about the world.”
According to a report on China’s Internet Audio Industry in 2020 released by iResearch Consulting Group, the market size of China’s Internet audio industry in 2019 totaled 17.58 billion yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 55.1%. With the rapid development of the industry in recent years, high-quality audio products of the network audio industry constantly emerge, and audio content continues to be more and more diverse. According to the report, the number of online audio users in China reached 490 million in 2019.
Chinese internet giants also are marching into the realm by launching new apps. Jike’s Xiaoyuzhou has been under public testing since the start of this year; Tencent launched Kuwo Listen app for long-form audio content; ByteDance launched Tomato Listen, as the company is also reported to be tapping into audiobooks. NetEase’s music app NetEase Cloud Music also started a separate section called “sound theater” for well-known IP adapted audio dramas and audiobooks.
Currently, audio content consumption is still relatively new in China, while specified genres including audio books, podcasts, audio dramas, and educational audio content are not clearly defined. Ximalaya, China’s biggest platform for audio content, has faced a number of lawsuits concerning copyright issues and user experience complaints. Due to China’s regulations and censorship laws, Spotify and most English-language content featured in Apple’s podcasting app are not accessible for Chinese listeners — leaving a vacuum for a Chinese developed podcast app to fill.